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  • Harbor Freight Mill Drill Moving

    Ya, I bought one. I know it's not a real mill, but then I'm not a real machinist. I'm just a dreamer at this point.

    I am preparing room in my shop for this thing. I won't have any help for the move. My plan is to remove the motor, remove the head, remove the stepped pulleys and guard, and move it in pieces. Is this a plan that has some potential for success? I have a come-a-long, straps, and some pipe staging that I can use to build a frame around it at either end of the move to lift pieces.

  • #2
    You might as well remove the table and saddle too. Not just to reduce weight, but to check the sliding surfaces for burrs, dings, grit, etc. that
    may have been left behind during manufacturing. Then wipe them good and clean and apply some way oil prior to reassembly.
    Location: Long Island, N.Y.

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    • #3
      Thanks. I intend to tear it down, clean and lube, and tram as well as I can once it's in the heated shop.

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      • #4
        I moved mine (RF25 clone) in two pieces with an engine hoist that I borrowed from a friend. You didn't say if the shop is accessible. A basement would require a total teardown, I think. The table, base casting and head casting all probably weigh close to 100 lbs, I'd guess. May be outside a 1 man job for a basement move-in.

        When I bought it I had to get mine out of a basement in two pieces, with 3 people and a dolly it was still murder.

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        • #5
          What you REALLY want is an engine hoist. Either splurge and buy one or rent it if funds are tight at the moment. Or maybe you know someone that will loan you one.

          Assuming it's one of the sizable RF45 style machines I'd say that even broken down some of the lumps are going to severely test your back muscles. Even when broken down. In particular the base and the head units. And that assumes that you remove the table and cross slide. The base would still be fairly heavy. And the head only breaks down so far in any event without going bonkers.

          If you're loading onto a trailer you might get away with sledding things up a ramp with the come along. But the head on an RF45 clone is one heavy ..... well you get the idea. Lifting it up high enough to slide over the end of the column and not loose your balance would be a trick and a half. It's one thing if you can lift it up off the column while it's all on the ground. And that will be a heavy grunt fo'sure. It will be another better Houdini trick to lift it up over the column when the base and column is already mounted at the working height.... .and that's where an engine hoist comes in. Or a lot of trust in your shop roof structure... and wedged in 2x6's to aid that support... or an engine hoist.

          I originally bought my own engine hoist to use for just moving and setting up again. The plan was always to sell it off on Craigslist after the new shop was set up. But it's come in handy too often during and since to let it go. When folded up it doesn't take up a whole lot of room.

          The only reason to NOT have an engine hoist is if your shop is in a basement at the end lower end of a stairway. In THAT case some other arrangement would be needed to get the most out of things.
          Chilliwack BC, Canada

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          • #6
            When I bought my RF30 I had help. When I sold it they brought help.
            *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

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            • #7
              The term HF mill drill covers machines from 78 pounds to a 660 lb unit. There have been several models sold over the years that fall within that range. If you give the model number you will get better advice.

              If you have a reliable engine hoist available, I'd leave it intact until you get it on the bench or stand.

              Dan
              At the end of the project, there is a profound difference between spare parts and left over parts.

              Location: SF East Bay.

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              • #8
                Not really a basement, I have to go across the driveway and through a 3 foot door and down 2 steps. I have a sled and ramp idea for that transition.

                I had in mind to remove the head and column as a unit from the base and lay it down on the sled.

                No roof structure to work with but I have 13' vertical space where I can stack a couple sets of pipe staging around it's work location to set it in place.

                Thanks for your replies.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by danlb View Post
                  The term HF mill drill covers machines from 78 pounds to a 660 lb unit. There have been several models sold over the years that fall within that range. If you give the model number you will get better advice.

                  If you have a reliable engine hoist available, I'd leave it intact until you get it on the bench or stand.

                  Dan
                  it's the big one

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                  • #10
                    A friend of mine disassembled a mill drill just as you described so he could get it out of the basement. It works but is a lot of work. One of the biggest problems moving the mill-drill is there is really no good way to get a hold of it for moving. I solved the problem on a Shop Fox several years ago. I drilled a hole through the sheet metal that formed the bottom of the belt guard. That let me drop a threaded rod through the hole. I had an eye nut on the top. On the bottom I had a flat bar that spanned the opening in the bottom of the headstock. And, of course a nut. That provided a convenient point for lifting with the engine hoist.

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                    • #11
                      I saw somewhere that there is such a hole in the head once you take the belt guard off, runs right through it near the center of mass. I'm hoping that's true

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                      • #12
                        P.S. It may not be a real mill, but its probably an order of magnitude better than no mill.
                        *** I always wanted a welding stinger that looked like the north end of a south bound chicken. Often my welds look like somebody pointed the wrong end of a chicken at the joint and squeezed until something came out. Might as well look the part.

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                        • #13
                          I made do with a round column machine for somewhere near on to 20 years. And yes, it's infinitely better than no mill....
                          Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by BCRider View Post
                            What you REALLY want is an engine hoist. Either splurge and buy one or rent it if funds are tight at the moment. Or maybe you know someone that will loan you one.
                            Ditto... Get A HF engine hoist now if you don't already have one... I've removed everything from a 2000lb lathe from the back of a truck, to a 6' tall air compressor (top heavy) with mine and 100's of stuff in between. They are best with a smooth floor, or a paved driveway but can also be some-what-easily moved over small bumps/ruts/thresholds/etc. I think I have HF's 2-ton engine hoist which is great, but I wish I got the folding version as it's a pain to store when you don't need it. I suppose I could take it apart to store it completely away, but it's do damn useful... Even the kids like to play with it and jack their bikes or riding toys in the air so it even kills two stones with one bird

                            Your welcome to borrow mine, or my pallet truck, or dolly if your in MA.

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                            • #15
                              Would assist heaps if you provided a link to a site that showed a photo of the type of mill.

                              Regardless, I would recommend that you do NOT remove the column from the base; especially if the mill is the round column type. For the round column type that connection should be left alone.

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